Stellaris kicks its game up a notch once again by adding in the one thing that we all simply couldn’t live without – space zombies!
Type: Single-player, Multi-player
Genre: Strategy, Simulation
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release date: 29 October, 2020
Like most Paradox strategy titles, Stellaris continues to receive new updates and DLCs that both broaden and deepen the experience. What sets it apart from its sister games though, is that all of its content is meant to assist in you being able to create and customize an empire and its species from scratch. It isn’t an alternate history generator, it’s a sci-fi simulation of what could one day be if all of our wildest dreams come true. To this end, the Necroids Species Pack gives us creative empire builders a new set of toys to play with.
Eat Your Neighbors (in a New Way!)
Devouring your enemies is nothing new to Stellaris at this point, though bringing them back to join your empire certainly is. If you decide to go with the new Necrophage origin, your primary species will be granted several significant benefits and penalties. Your leaders will live nearly a century longer than their counterparts while your ruler and specialist populations will be more productive in the roles that they take. Tack on the fact that this species only needs half of the standard food and mineral upkeep and that you can “convert” other species into it, and you’ve got an interesting new playstyle that’s soaked in narrative flavor.
The downfalls of being a necrophage are noticeable though. Their worker productivity takes a decent-size ten percent hit which isn’t terrible, but the impact can certainly be felt. Their population growth speed is reduced by a whopping seventy-five percent, however, the kind of massive cut that not only encourages but enforces that you play them as the species devourers that they are.
Death, Undeath, and the Memories We Made along the Way
Three new notable civics have been tossed into the mix to spice up your future empires: death cult, reanimated armies, and memorialists. An empire that’s a death cult has a religion that has a fundamental devotion to ritual sacrifice. They’re capable of building sacrificial temples that provide death priest and mortal initiate jobs. Death priests process consumer goods into unity, society research, and amenities, while mortal initiates simply turn consumer goods into society research, but there’s a secondary use for the latter as well. When mortal initiates are sacrificed, they provide powerful edicts that offer some nice buffs across your empire.
Reanimated armies allow you to become the legendary necromancer that you always wanted to be as you bring back the dead to serve in your military forces. These units are quite inexpensive, requiring energy credits instead of minerals to recruit. They’re capable of dealing twice as much damage as an assault army and are produced even more quickly. All in all, not at all something to shrug off as just a theming difference.
Finally, memorialists put a serious emphasis on remembering those who have come before. Their sanctuaries of repose assist with stability and attraction to governing ethics as well as creating death chronicler jobs. These jobs can convert consumer goods into unity and society research.
The Moratari Liberators: Rather Unpleasant Individuals
To celebrate this new DLC, I cranked out a new empire of my own. The Moratari Liberators have the Necrophage background and I slapped together reanimated armies and barbaric despoilers to create something that felt fairly unique without being a straight rip of just the new mechanics that are available. They’re slow breeders, making one of their most significant weaknesses even worse, though the barbaric despoiler civic helped to mitigate the impact of that quite a bit by allowing me to “liberate” some of the “extra” pops of my nearby neighbors. This kept a steady supply of Moratari who continued to grow as long as I kept the new converts incoming. With their authoritarian, xenophobic, and militarist approach to the galaxy backed up by their natural capability for being adaptive to any environment that they came across, expansion was particularly exciting.
If you’re a fan of Stellaris, you want this DLC. The new origin, civics, and traits are fresh, both mechanically and thematically, and they’re rounded out with a few nice additions like undead armies around them. The price is right around what I would suggest for this and I can’t complain about it, though if you’re protective of your wallet, I would still recommend it, just pick it up on one of the nice sales that’s surely on the way some time in the next year or so. If you can’t get enough pieces for your empire and species customization, though, this is definitely one that you don’t want to miss.